MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING
BETWEEN THE NATIONAL GARIFUNA COUNCIL (NGC)
AND THE GOVERNMENT OF BELIZE
CONSIDERING that the National Garifuna Council is an association representing the Garinagu in Belize;
CONSIDERING that Garifuna people have lived in Belize for almost two hundred years and that during that time they have contributed significantly to the integral development of the country;
CONSIDERING that the Garinagu of Belize form a minority of the total population and are concentrated mainly in the southern part of the country, where they have established communities where they carry out their distinct cultural practices;
CONSIDERING that the Government of Belize has pledged in the Manifesto to Set Belize Free to “respect the cultures of our different peoples and seek to ensure that our political, social and economic structures and policies do not violate their cultures”, and to take “new and special approaches and measures to assist the south in catching up”; and
CONSIDERING that the culture and spiritual values of the Garinagu confer a special importance on their relationship with the sea, which plays a crucial role in the performance of their religious rituals;
NOW THEREFORE, the Government of Belize (GOB) and the National Garifuna Council (NGC) subscribe to the following understandings and agreements:
- The GOB recognizes the NGC as a legitimate representative of the Garinagu in Belize.
- The GOB shall give due recognition to the social, cultural, religious and spiritual values and practices of the Garinagu in Belize.
The GOB shall consult the NGC whenever consideration is being given to legislative or administrative measures which will directly and especially affect the Garinagu of Belize.
4. The GOB shall take measures, in cooperation with the NGC, to protect and preserve the land and sea environments of communities predominantly populated by the Garinagu of Belize;
5. The GOB shall do everything possible to prevent discrimination against Garifuna workers, whether with respect to employment, promotion, or other aspects.
6. The GOB agrees to conduct serious good faith negotiations with the NGC with regard to communal rights of the Garinagu to certain lands.
7. The NGC pledges to engage the Garifuna people of Belize in the development of the nation of Belize within the framework of the Constitution and Laws of Belize.
8. The NGC will cooperate fully with the GOB in identifying, planning and implementing development projects and programmes which affect the Garinagu in Belize, including special projects to benefit the southern part of the country.
9. The NGC will actively promote Belize at home and abroad as a tourist destination with a unique cultural and ecological diversity.
10. The NGC will collaborate with GOB and with other civil society organizations to promote respect for Belize?s cultural diversity and to engender tolerance and cooperation between the various ethnic and cultural groups of Belize.
SAID W. MUSA E. ROY CAYETANO
PRIME MINISTER PRESIDENTNATIONAL GARIFUNA COUNCIL